James Crook, the quarterback for San Marcos High’s football team, hadn’t played soccer for five years but came in and scored a goal and an assist on Thursday as the Royals beat defending CIF Division IV champion Rio Mesa 4-1 on the road.
“He opened my eyes a bit. He had a fantastic game,” said coach Brian Eisen. “He really took it to their defense. They had no idea how to stop him due to his size.”
Eisen said that Crook played with a bit of a football mentality.
“He was running right through in a straight line with no lateral movement. In high school, that can work,” he said.
Eisen also highlighted the play of junior Eli Harris, who stepped in after a starter suffered an injury in warm-ups and did a great job defensively, helping goalie Efren Gutierrez keep a clean sheet until Rio Mesa was granted a penalty kick with five minutes remaining.
Michael Gallop scored in the 18th minute and Erik Gutierrez followed up in the 28th to give the Royals a 2-0 lead heading into the halftime break. Crook scored in the 58th and Chris Olmedo came through 10 minutes after that.
The Royals (1-1) face Cabrillo in the Central Coast Classic on Friday.